News from the Arab Press

Likud Members Sent A Strong Message To Netanyahu

By Asaf Zilberfarb | The Media Line

February 11, 2019

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Ma’ariv, Israel, February 8

Registered members of the Likud Party sent their chairman, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a clear message last week. In the primary elections held across the country, tens of thousands of Likud members voted for a respectable list of candidates that would represent their party in the next parliamentary elections, while pushing controversial figures from the previous Knesset [Israeli parliament] to the bottom of the list. Don’t get me wrong; the Likud list is far from perfect. It consists primarily of white, wealthy men who bring little new hope to the Israeli political arena. This is ironic, of course, since the Likud commonly takes pride in representing Israel’s socioeconomic periphery. Therefore, there is an inherent discord between the elected individuals and those they claim to represent. However, there is also a silver lining. Shameful figures such as Nava Boker, Miki Zohar and Ayuv Kara, who spent most of their time in office sucking up to Netanyahu, found themselves in unrealistic spots that will likely leave them outside the next Knesset session. So, too, did Oren Hazan, who shamed his colleagues in parliament, disrespected women, and violently incited against Israel’s Arab population. Even Miri Regev, the outgoing Minister of Culture who gained widespread public attention for enacting controversial policies, found herself demoted in this election compared to the previous one. This, of course, won’t prevent Netanyahu from rewarding her for defending him and his family. But the message is clear: Likud members reminded their chairman, who has become nothing short of a king, that they don’t value sycophants. Netanyahu might be speaking about a victory, but he is in no position to celebrate. Some of the candidates he openly supported have been thrown off the party’s list. His longtime adversary, Gideon Sa’ar, made his way to the party’s top five. This is undoubtedly a political setback Bibi had hoped to avoid. –Ben Caspit

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